It is not the kind of news that brings comfort. Especially if it involves a family member.
Statistically, every Malay family in Singapore knows of either a relative, friend or somebody within their community who has done drugs, or been arrested for it. That is the truth and nothing but the painful truth and something that needs to be confronted. And just why does it keep happening all the time since campaigns began in earnest in the 1970s to lick the problem?
Even the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has tough measures to deal with drugs. Yet what has been accomplished in the SAF cannot be seen in civil society. Isn’t that all somewhat strange; that is what could be done in the armed forces cannot be done elsewhere in society?
Figures from the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) bear some disturbing facts. In 2015, the anti-drug enforcement agency said that arrested Malay abusers increased by 7%, from 1,624 in 2014 to 1,738 in 2015.
The figure was way above the statistics cited for other races despite the Malays being a minority in an overly Chinese-dominated nation. As a matter of fact, a check with the Singapore Prison Service revealed that drug offenders made up for the largest group of imprisoned offenders. That in all likelihood may just be why Malays are making up the majority, in that category of convicts.
Just what is worrying is that the problem has persisted for too long and despite the existence of Mendaki and many other community self-help groups, the six-million question is why? Has there not been efforts, robust enough to contain the problem? Maybe that could well be the reason why the problem continues.
As a matter of fact, it was and is also somewhat the same in Malaysia. In 1983, then Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mahathir Mohammad mentioned that there were 1million drug addicts in Malaysia. But, he did not give the breakdown of his nation’s ethnic composition hooked on drugs.
Why can’t Malay families and self-respecting individuals come together in a very united force and do something. A problem that causes lifelong embarrassment is not something to be swept away but taken in, and be rid of once and for all such that it does not come back to haunt the community over and over.